Northern Lights: What are the aurorae borealis?

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A fisheye lens view of the all-sky aurora on February 16, 2018, over the Churchill Northern Study Center in Churchill, Manitoba. This image shows a short-lived bright explosion when the lower edge of the aurora curtain turns bright pink by high-energy electrons that excite low-altitude nitrogen molecules. (Image credit: VW Pics / Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Aurora is a phenomenon that appears in the sky when charged particles from the sun collide with oxygen and nitrogen molecules in the atmosphere and ionize those molecules to make them glow. These lights are usually only visible at high latitudes, ranging from weak glows on the horizon to green and red undulating sheets that cover the sky.

Where can you see the aurora?

As the name implies, the aurora is Arctic, Northern Canada, Iceland, Greenland, Scandinavian countries, Russia, Alaska (and water in between). In general, the best place to see them is between latitudes 10 and 20 degrees. They happen technically all the time, but the sun’s rays during the day wash them away. NASA Provides useful tools Predicting northern light events, Earth To see them.

What does the aurora look like?

Aurora on the shores of the frozen Disko Bay in West Greenland. The nearby Ice Fjord is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Image credit: Martin Zwick / REDA & CO / Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Auroras come in a variety of shapes and colors. The most common form is the common whitish “haze” or static glow just above the horizon. In more spectacular shows, the lights may appear directly above as they form a swirling wavy curtain and blue, green, and red sheets.Red — the rarest color — comes from the collision of highly energized particles. air In the upper atmosphere. Blue and green come from particles that hit nitrogen at lower levels in the atmosphere. According to NASA..

Why does it need to be cold for the aurora to occur?

When charged particles from the solar wind get caught in the Earth’s magnetic field, they eventually collide with our atmosphere, creating an amazing aurora and southern light. (Image credit: NASA)

Despite the common misconception, you don’t have to be cold to see the northern lights. However, they can only be seen at night, and at the northernmost latitudes, there is little or sometimes no sunlight. winter It’s been a few months, so you usually need to bring some layers to go looking for an aurora.

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